Focus on: Best 5-year fixed rate mortgage

Published:
23 March 2011
Topic:
News,Money,Mortgages,Product review

There's growing speculation that the Bank of England will hike the base rate soon in order to curb soaring inflation, leaving millions of homeowners on variable rate mortgages facing steeper costs.

As a result, many people are looking to lock into fixed rate mortgages now, so they'll know exactly what their repayments will be, no matter how high interest rates rise.

Nationwide Building Society has launched a market-leading five year fixed rate mortgage with a rate of 4.39%, so if you're looking for a longer-term fix then could this be the deal for you? We take a look...

What's the deal?

New buyers with a 30% deposit, or those remortgaging with at least 30% equity in their homes can apply for a Nationwide mortgage fixed at just 4.39% for five years, plus fees of £999.

If you're remortgaging, then this deal comes with some decent incentives, namely no valuation costs or legal fees, potentially saving you a few hundred pounds.

Those buying for the first time benefit from reduced fees of £499.

Borrowers who don't qualify for lower fees and who are put off by having to pay nearly a grand in charges can opt to take a higher rate of 4.59%, in return for fees of just £99.

Any catches?

You'll have slightly less flexibility with this mortgage when it comes to overpaying. If you want to try and clear your mortgage faster, there's a maximum overpayment of £500 a month, no matter how much you've borrowed. If you exceed this amount, then you will be charged an early repayment penalty.

Customers in Northern Ireland won't qualify for free legal fees, because that part of the UK has slightly different laws.

Verdict

If you're looking for a five-year fixed rate then this is a good deal, even when you factor in the £999 fee.

The next-best rate is 4.59% from First Direct with a fee of £199, but Nationwide can match that rate and offer a lower fee of £99, so it remains market-leading, even if you're unwilling to pay a high fee.

But it is worth remembering that, when it comes to base rate, no one has a crystal ball and it's hard to know if rates are going to rise in the near future.

If you're on your lender's standard variable rate (SVR) then you're probably paying much less than you used to, as base rate is so low. Moving to a fix will undoubtedly hike your repayments.

So you may decide to risk remaining on that rate until it becomes clearer how soon rates are likely to climb.

Of course, once it starts to look as though base rate will rise, it's likely that fixed rates will already have climbed.

Top tip

It can be really hard to choose the right mortgage for you in the face of financial uncertainty and an intimidating number of choices.

So if you're struggling to work out whether you should move to a tracker or fixed rate mortgage, it's worth talking to a broker for some qualified advice. He or she will also be able to help you work out which deals you're most likely to qualify for.

You can request a callback from a qualified mortgage adviser through moneysupermarket.com.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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